WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Patty Murray (D-WA) blasted the Trump administration following yesterday’s news that it plans to set the salary threshold under which workers would be guaranteed overtime pay at $35,308, down from $47,476 set by the Obama Administration. Brown and Murray said the Trump Administration’s threshold is not nearly high enough and would deny low- to middle- income workers potential wages they have earned or more time with their families.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, a preliminary calculation suggests that well over half of the workers who would have gotten new or strengthened overtime protections under the 2016 rule would be left behind by this rule. This means the Trump administration’s rule would leave out millions of workers.
Last Congress, Brown and Murray joined Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Mark Takano (D-CA) in introducing legislation to make millions of American workers newly eligible for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours a week, providing economic security to millions of working families. Their Restoring Overtime Pay Act would increase the overtime salary level from $23,660 per year to about $50,000 per year, making at least four million workers newly eligible for overtime pay.
“People who work 50 or 60 hours a week should be paid the wages they’ve earned. Period,” said Brown. “Through this rule, the Trump administration is breaking its promise to hardworking Americans. By failing to stand up for workers and defend the overtime rule, the President is failing to put workers first and is driving down the value of work.”
“Far too many people work more than 40 hours a week and are still struggling to support their families, and this proposed rule would mean that fewer workers would get paid fairly for the hours they work,” said Murray. “It’s well past time for the Trump Administration to stop siding with corporations and CEOs and start building an economy that works for all of us, not just those at the top.”
The Senators’ bill aimed to codify the Obama administration’s 2016 overtime rule, which would have strengthened overtime protections for millions of workers by extending eligibility for overtime pay to workers earning less than $47,476 annually. However, in August 2017, a federal judge in Texas blocked the Department of Labor (DOL) overtime rule from going into effect.
The Trump administration’s plan to lower the overtime salary threshold means that, compared to the 2016 rule, fewer workers would get the pay they have earned or get more time with their families.